Renew On Line (UK) 47

Extracts from NATTA's journal
, issue 147 Jan-Feb 2004

   Welcome   Archives   Bulletin         

1. More Offshore wind

2. UK still at bottom of the EU league

3.New Planning Rules for Renewables

4. Regional Renewables: NE plans

5.More PV Solar


7. Better Building Summit

8. Doubts over funding for offshore wind

9. Coal Mine Methane exempted from levy

10. Party Pieces

11. Clear Skies:  More local projects

12. Marine Renewables

13. World Developments

14. Nuclear News

7. Building Better, Living Better

A high-level group of builders, developers, planners and environmental advisers are to spearhead efforts to raise the environmental quality of buildings. Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett said that the new Sustainable Buildings Task Group aimed to  pinpoint ways in which industry and government can work together to promote sustainable development through better environmental performance in new and existing buildings, and improve significantly performance on key issues including water, energy, waste and building materials such as timber. The group will look at incentives for innovation and how the planning system can help to spread best practice among designers, builders and other professions. It will report to Ministers in Feb 2004.

The announcement came at the Better Buildings Summit, organised last Oct. by ODPM, DTI and Defra, which brought together key industry players to join forces with government and drive forward the commitments set out in the Energy White Paper and the Sustainable Communities Plan. Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott commented “More innovation, better design, better planning, higher standards - more of the “wow” factor and a more can-do attitude- are all critical to the success of the Sustainable Communities Plan.  It’s about working better with the people who matter most to create high quality neighbourhoods which will stand the test of time.”

He also unveiled plans to raise national standards for water conservation by 2005, in the same time frame as the review of energy efficiency provisions in the Building Regulations.

Mrs Beckett said that everyone in the construction industry, the financial sector and those who commission public and private buildings must play their part. “Everyone must be clear that business as usual is not an option. Most of us live in buildings erected long before we were born and our successors will have to live with the environmental consequences of the buildings we construct today.”

 She added “It is vital that we minimise harmful impacts for those who come after us. Buildings contribute almost half of the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions and more than half of the water supplied is used by households. The government’s Energy White Paper sets out the energy efficiency and carbon reductions we need over the next 20 years, and the importance of better building standards to meeting our goals.” 

She went on “We need sustainability at the heart of our skills and professional training. We need architects and designers to incorporate sustainability in their designs. Manufacturers must deliver efficient buildings services and fabric components. Builders must develop and market sustainable buildings, and we need consumers to demand those higher standards.”

Beckett also launched a major new skills and training programme for heating installers to boost progress on energy efficiency highlighted in the government’s Energy White Paper. Up to 70,000 people will be trained to ensure that when new, higher standards are introduced for more energy-efficient boilers in 2005 there will be a workforce able to fit them.The scheme will be run in partnership with the heating industry, Energy Saving Trust, and the Learning and Skills Council.

In parallel, Trade and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt announced new green standards for all public sector developments to ensure more energy-efficient homes, schools and hospitals. She said the guidelines, to be introduced next year, would help meet customer demand for a greener lifestyle as well helping to deliver better public services.

* ‘Creating Sustainable Communities- Making it Happen’ is available,  and the £22bn ‘Sustainable Communities Plan’, published in Feb2003, are both available at

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